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High cost of lead, what is the alternative?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by senior smoke, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    Hello:
    With the high cost of lead in today's market, what might be the alternative? Years ago, I read an article that we might be using Bismuth, or steel shot target loads in the future. A few years ago I shot with a friend of mine at our state shoot and he used a box of steel shot trap loads. They hit the 16 yard targets with authority, but he said they were $12.00 per box? I once saw a guy using red bismuth shells and they also hit the targets well. Anyone know if these shells can now be made any cheaper than lead shells? If not, any other material that is being considered for a possible replacement for lead?

    I don't understand how we can send people to the moon, but we can't find a cheaper replacement for lead for target loads?

    Steve Balistreri
     
  2. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Hello:
    With the high cost of lead in today's market, what might be the alternative? Years ago, I read an article that we might be using Bismuth, or steel shot target loads in the future. A few years ago I shot with a friend of mine at our state shoot and he used a box of steel shot trap loads. They hit the 16 yard targets with authority, but he said they were $12.00 per box? I once saw a guy using red bismuth shells and they also hit the targets well. Anyone know if these shells can now be made any cheaper than lead shells? If not, any other material that is being considered for a possible replacement for lead?

    I don't understand how we can send people to the moon, but we can't find a cheaper replacement for lead for target loads?

    Steve Balistreri
     
  3. skeezix

    skeezix Member

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    I'm with you Steve. I think leads days are numbered. Unfortunately all the higher density stuff like bismuth, tungsten, etc are much more expensive than lead- like in the $3.00/shell range.

    I think that the future is steel - I don't like it, I think the lead scare is waay over-rated - but I think its days are numbered regardless. I am not a metals commodity guy - but I believe the vast majority of lead goes into batteries - and battery technology is changing to reduce or eliminate lead. I doubt that trap/skeet/hunting demands are a significant driver for the lead market - So if the market collapses because major portions of the market die off - we are up the creek without a paddle.

    I think we need to find a way to make steel work. Maybe handicap yardages are reduced to 24 yds and the .410 skeet event is history- No doubt the games will change.

    my $0.02

    I believe you can get steel shot for $1.00/lb or so now for cast steel shot. I don't know if it is viable or not.

    john
     
  4. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    John:
    The stories I hear with China's involvement, lead will only continue to rise in cost over years to come. Years ago, when I would shoot with Vic Reinders he saw the hand writing on the wall. Back then shot was $6.00 per bag, and there was talk of it hitting $10.00 per bag someday. He told me if shot ever hit $10.00 per bag we would see a mass exodus from the shooting sports. Thirty to forty years ago he was trying to find a substitute for lead. One day we were shooting skeet and he was not hitting the targets to well. I asked him what was wrong and he had loaded up a batch of shells with split peas, chick peas etc. He said they just didn't have the weight.

    With all the brilliant people in the shooting sports, it seems very few people seem to be concerned about the never ending high cost of lead?

    It simply amazes me.
    Steve
     
  5. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    I don't think any raw material will go down in price.

    The world population is growing, western civilization is affecting every corner of the world. As we civilizing (Americanize) more people, the demand for raw materials will grow, why are we surprised?

    When oil price went down for a short while, I just hope it'll stay for a little longer, it never cross my mind that it'll stay low. There's no reason for it to go down in the long run, so is lead, steel, and everything else.

    The only thing I noticed about price going lower is right after we see cheap labor products made in 3rd world countries. Enjoy that while we can, it'll go up as soon as they became Americanized.
     
  6. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    The alternative is simple, use the lead shot again. Put up a shot curtain in the drop zone, catch the lead shot and use it again. This method allows you to reclaim clean lead shot. It will pay for itself in no time, and can be used with very little maintenance. HMB
     
  7. atadams77

    atadams77 Member

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    Reclaimed shot will take over vs. steel in my opinion. however reclaimed is still running around $22-$25 a bag.
     
  8. ken1okie

    ken1okie Active Member

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    I think that steel is the viable alternative. Any of the known components with the weight of lead are cost prohibitive. Modify the games to match the limitations of steel. If the ammo producers were making as many steel loads as lead the price would go down substantially. As for me, I'm loading reclaimed lead for practice and shooting virgin lead for tourneys.
     
  9. EuroJoe

    EuroJoe TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    that stuff isn't going up, the dollar is going down!!
     
  10. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

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    The "Dollar" as we know it is doomed....not a question of if, but when.

    Curt
     
  11. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    "reclaimed is still running around $22-$25 a bag"

    Reclaimed shot is running that high now because of the mining and sifting costs. If they go to the shot recovery curtain that will eliminate the need to mine and the recovery should be cheaper and easier. that is once the cost of the curtain installation is paid for.

    Matt
     
  12. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    How high does a 25 lb bag of shot have to go before you to say, enough is enough, I just can't afford, or refuse to pay this price for lead?
    Steve
     
  13. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    HMB - The only effect shot curtains I am aware of are laid over a berm. How many clubs can do that? Not many I guess.
     
  14. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    Steel targets loads at WalMart are about the same price as premium lead now. Steel will get cheaper. Lead will get higher.
     
  15. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Many clubs in the midwest have to shoot steel.
     
  16. Steve W

    Steve W Well-Known Member

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    The most effective shot recovery curtain system is like the ones they use in Italy (Olympic Trap), there're trenches at the bottom of the curtains, the shots roll down into collecting buckets, according to them, they recover approx. 90~95% of the shots.


    stevew_2008_030386.jpg


    Unfortunately, such set up is not effective when we have yardage, H/C shooting.
     
  17. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Mrskeet410,

    I am referring to the set up used in Italy. They use a curtain that is suspended between poles at an angle away from the shooters. The shot hits the curtain, rolls down to a gutter type collection device and is collected. They retrieve 92 to 96 percent of the shot. It is clean and ready to be reused. HMB
     
  18. willing

    willing Member

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    With wheelweights going away and batteries using less lead, there should be lead for shot if the environmkent guys don't get us. Most lead is a byproduct of silver mining and that will continue.

    Bill
     
  19. Ray Collins

    Ray Collins Active Member

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    EuroJoe is correct; watch the dollar. It will begin to strengthen when we get our debt under control.

    Doc
     
  20. GW22

    GW22 Active Member

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    Everybody standardize on 3/4 oz. loads. Then we find out who really knows how to point their shotgun, LOL.

    -Gary
     
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